This is my official Top 10 album list for 2012:
1. Dirty Ghosts Metal Moon
Most conventional modern “rock” music is horrible. This is not, and Metal Moon reminds me of all the best moments of gal-fronted rock from the last 30 years (Hole, The Pretenders, Toronto, Pat Benatar, PJ Harvey, etc) and some dudely bands like Thin Lizzy, too.
2. Lee Fields Faithful Man
There’ve been some great moments in this post-Amy Winehouse, post-Sharon Jones old soul revival, but few match the ascension of an actual old soul guy, Lee Fields. You know how when you hear a classic, like say James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” and you go, “Damn, I wish there was more music like that”? This, is that music.
3. Lana Del Rey Born To Die
People hate on Lana for her live performance and lips and gimmick-ness, but damn if this isn’t a conceptually perfect album with its broken Lolita lounge singer vibe.
4. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats Blood Lust
There are many bands — mostly really bad metal bands — who claim they’re making really evil sounding music. Unfortunately, most of the time what they’re making isn’t evil so much as it’s extreme noise poop with unintelligible vocals. Uncle Acid, though, he’s one bad dude and you can tell straight away when you hear him.
5. D-Sisive Jonestown 3: The Dream Is Over
It took me awhile to give in and admit I really liked this album. Mostly this was because I’m friends with D-Sisive and didn’t want to appear too homer. But the truth is it’s a brilliant, moving album and the bummer singalong “When We Die We Die Together” is one of the hardest hitting songs I’ve ever heard.
6. Hooded Fang Tosta Mista
Imagine a bunch of Weezer nerds trying to pretend they’re a Cramps cover band. That’s what this is and it’s great.
7. Christopher Douglas Smith Earning Keep
Every year I seem to have one unexpected late-year creeper that slowly makes its way into my life and this year it’s Earning Keep. This is a subtle, haunting record that yields new finds with each listen.
8. The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends
I generally have low expectations for weird collaborative projects like this, but there’s something so perfectly off-kilter about this album that it won me over. The combination of Ke$ha, Biz Markie and Flaming Lips on the opening track can’t be underestimated in helping turn the tide.
9. Neil Young Psychedelic Pill
Psychedelic Pill isn’t so much an amazing Neil Young album so much as it’s an amazing Neil Young echo. This record, anchored by three mega-guitar jams, reminds me of all the things I really like about Neil Young records and that’s why it makes this list.
10. A Tribe Called Red A Tribe Called Red
I love the idea of this album, but I’m just a touch less hot on the actual record. That’s not meant to be a backhand compliment so much as it’s the expression of some sort of cosmic desire to see ATCR’s electric powwow vibe get articulated in some perfect world-conquering way. This album isn’t quite there, but it’s close enough to make the list.
Other album lists…
2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1